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High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) is the next generation video compression standard currently under development within the ITU-T/ISO sponsored Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC). The standardization, and eventual adoption, of HEVC will contribute significantly to the future development of many consumer devices. Areas such as broadcast television, multimedia streaming, mobile communications and multimedia/video content storage will all be impacted by implementation of the emerging HEVC standard. Up to this point in time the research focus of HEVC has been on improvements to video compression efficiency and little work has been conducted into streaming of HEVC. In this work we consider the practical barriers to HEVC streaming in realistic environments and propose HEVStream, a streaming and evaluation framework for HEVC encoded content. Our framework fills the current gap in enabling networked HEVC visual applications and permits the implementation, testing and evaluation of HEVC encoded video streaming under a range of packet loss, bandwidth restriction and network delay scenarios in a realistic testbed environment. We provide a basic error concealment method for HEVC to overcome limitations within the decoder and an RTP packetisation format for HEVC Network Abstraction Layer (NAL) units. Comprehensive results of HEVC streaming experiments under various network circumstances are reported. These results provide an insight into the reduction in picture quality, measured as peak signal to noise ratio (PSNR), that can be expected under a wide range of network constraint and packet loss conditions. We report an average loss of 3.61dB when a bandwidth reduction of 10% is applied. We believe that this work will be amongst the first to report on successful design and implementation of HEVC network applications, and evaluation of the effects of network constraints or limitations on the quality of HEVC encoded video streams.
Date of Publication: May 2012